J.C. Bamford Excavators Ltd., a U.K.-based manufacturer of construction equipment, has landed its second contract with the United States Army to supply high-speed backhoe loaders for military use and protection. 

The $50 million contract for the High Mobility Engineer Excavators, or HMEEs, is a followup to JCB’s first deal with the U.S. Army in 2005 — a $206 million order that was the largest in the British company’s history and opened the door for JCB to supply other militaries. JCB has now sold more than 4,000 of the specialized backhoes in 57 countries. 

Chris Saucedo, vice president of military products, foresees even greater growth and evolution for the product line, which is to be manufactured at JCB’s North American plant in Savannah with a scheduled delivery date of 2017.  

“I think there’s tremendous opportunity for growth with the HMEE project,” Mr. Saucedo told Global Atlanta. “The fact that we are bringing in additional revenue and reconstituting a line which creates opportunity for growth not only within JCB but with our supply chain really puts us with a steady stream for the next three years.”

Mr. Saucedo added that certain language in the U.S. defense budget for fiscal year 2015 encourages other military branches to upgrade to the newly improved HMEEs, he said. 

JCB’s military backhoes have special capabilities that set them apart from those used in normal construction settings. Light enough to be transported by air freighter, they’re also hardy enough to withstand significant bomb blasts. 

“We’ve had one significant event where the machine was completely destroyed but the operator walked away and was able to return to duty the next day,” Mr. Saucedo said, noting that the systems deploy ballistic-grade steel and glass to protect operators. 

The excavators are also nimble, moving at speeds of up to 60 miles per hour. This eliminates the need to be towed behind another vehicle when traveling in convoy.  

JCB plans to enter on new research and development phases in 2015 with the goal of adding remote-control robotics capabilities, Mr. Saucedo said.

“The product continues to evolve,” Mr. Saucedo said. “There are definitely some legs underneath this thing.”

Visit www.jcbna.com for more information.